LONDON [UK]: Bhupinder Singh Gill will make history the moment he steps onto St Mary's Stadium to run the line for the match between Southampton and Nottingham Forest on Wednesday to become the first Sikh-Punjabi to serve as an assistant referee in a Premier League game.
The 37-year-old will follow in the footsteps of his father, Jarnail Singh, who oversaw more than 150 games between 2004 and 2010 and became the first turbaned referee in English Football League history.
When Sunny, Bhupinder's brother, presided over a League Two match between Northampton and Hartlepool earlier this season, he made history as the first British South Asian referee since his father.
"This has to be the proudest and most exciting moment in my refereeing journey so far, but I'm not getting carried away as it is just another step in the direction to where I want to get to. My family are also really proud and excited for me. I wouldn't be in this situation if it wasn't for my dad, who has supported me throughout my journey and been a role model for me. He's taken leave from work to make sure he attends the game alongside my wife and son. It'll be special to have them there," said Bhupinder as quoted by ESPN.
Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer for Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organisation in charge of overseeing refereeing in England, has applauded Gill's appointment.
The 2010 World Cup final was overseen by Webb, a former Premier League official who left his position at the Professional Referee Organization for Major League Soccer in December and returned to England.
"Hopefully this is another moment to help inspire the next generation to sign up to a refereeing course and get into officiating. My dream has always been to reach the top of the game, be a role model for future officials and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds into officiating, especially from a South Asian background just like me," added Gill.